Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Left out of Compton

There's showbiz for you. One moment, you're a threat to the status quo, with the President worrying over your lyrics. The next, you've been assimilated into a Hollywood biopic.

So it is that NWA, who once threatened revolution in the streets find themselves atop the multiplexes. It shouldn't be much of a surprise - after all, we're several years past the time Eazy-E took lunch with President Bush at a Republican fundraiser:

The good people of Compton, though, won't be able to see their neighbourhood's moment in the sun - Compton doesn't have a cinema.

Although that's not quite as isolating as Digital Spy tries to make it sound. Because...
Dr Dre and Ice Cube fans will have to journey 4 miles east to Paramount's Bianchi Stadium theatre to witness their city depicted on-screen.
A four mile trip to the cinema isn't exactly onerous, is it? People in the suburbs of Brighton have to travel further than that to get to the pictures, and nobody's suggesting Straight Outta Withdean is going to get green lit soon.

More worryingly is the excising of Dre's treatment of women. Dre beat Dee Barnes, and she wonders why this isn't mentioned in the biopic:
That event isn’t depicted in Straight Outta Compton, but I don’t think it should have been, either. The truth is too ugly for a general audience. I didn’t want to see a depiction of me getting beat up, just like I didn’t want to see a depiction of Dre beating up Michel’le, his one-time girlfriend who recently summed up their relationship this way: “I was just a quiet girlfriend who got beat on and told to sit down and shut up.”

But what should have been addressed is that it occurred. When I was sitting there in the theater, and the movie’s timeline skipped by my attack without a glance, I was like, “Uhhh, what happened?” Like many of the women that knew and worked with N.W.A., I found myself a casualty of Straight Outta Compton’s revisionist history.
Hollywood likes its gritty stories. But just not with too much reality. After all, you don't want your heroes to be unrelatable, right?


Anonymous said...

The movie is about NWA the group, not Dre specifically… there was a lot of stuff left out and it was STILL a 2.5 hour film. Let's be real here, how significant was that incident, to the story of NWA really? Dre beat her up, they went to court, he settled with her. Definitely not a great moment for him, but, what's the significance to the overall story?And why would he have it in there when he is a producer of the film? People need to get off the Dee Barnes thing - it's just not that important to the story of N.W.A. There was a lot of stuff left out… Bone Thugs became a massive group and they BARELY got a mention in the film.

Robin Carmody said...

It's been said many times before, and it's never been truer; in the long term, in terms of how much influence they actually had on what became the norm, Public Enemy ended up as prog to NWA's Black Sabbath (thanks to Peter Shapiro for that one ...)

Post a Comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.